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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 22, 1953

REPORT, EMBASSY OF HUNGARY IN NORTH KOREA TO THE HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

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    Report from Zsigmond Csuka (Chargé d’Affaires ad interim in Pyongyang) in which he complains about difficulties caused by the North Korean foreign ministry regarding exchanges between the two countries.
    "Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," December 22, 1953, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-k Korea, 9. doboz, 18/g, 00303/1954. Translated for NKIDP by Balazs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113392
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On 21 December 1953 I visited the secretariat of the Academy of Sciences. I asked for this meeting long ago, but the [DPRK] Foreign Ministry of this place did not give its permission. Now and then I met the members of the Academy in passing. They always invited me, and on occasion they even asked me for a meeting over the phone. Thus, the Foreign Ministry has created an impossible situation [….] It should have ascertained long ago whether the delegation from the Academy, which was to visit the Soviet Union, intended to visit us [Hungary] or not. By order of the Center, we invited this delegation as recently as half a year ago, completely in conformity with the rules, through a verbal note. The invitation had been a great pleasure for the scientists, but because the delegation did not leave [for the Soviet Union], we had to wait. Due to the absence of contacts, we were not able to learn when this delegation would leave; it left in the middle of December. In giving reasons for not permitting the meeting, the Foreign Ministry came up with the argument that at present the scientific cadres were working in the countryside. During a conversation I remarked that I had seen these cadres in Pyongyang, whereupon they replied that these cadres may have been at home, but the secretary of the Academy had left for the Soviet Union [….]

On 21 December […] I was suddenly invited to the Academy through the F[oreign] M[inistry]. I met the Deputy Secretary-General, Comrade Ri Ju-won [Ri Chu Won - emphasis in the original]. This meeting came in handy, for the exchange of agricultural experience should have been discussed with the Academy here long ago. On the grounds of a conversation in September, the Academy here has already sent samples of seed grain and silkworm. While at home [in Hungary], I reached an agreement with Comrade Osztrovszki about how we would give fruit stocks […] in return. We will be too late to help before long, which […] will endanger the excellent relationship we had established with the Academy of Sciences here during the war.

The meeting took place in the following manner [.…] the head of the chemical branch […] spoke of the difficulties they had in the chemical field [emphasis in the original]. True, by now they receive scientific journals from the Soviet Union and from us, but they have not gotten any Western scientific journals since 1945. During the war, they were isolated even from Soviet scientific literature [.…] He asked me to send them copies of the following journals, or similar chemical journals, should there be the slightest chance of it [….]

1) Chemical Abstracts (USA)

2) Industrial and Engineering Chemistry […]

3) Journal of [ the] American Chemical Society

4) Polymer Science

5) Modern Plastics.

1) Berichte [der] deutschen chemischen Gesellschaft (West German)

2) Angewandte Chemie

3) Zeitschrift für physikalische Chemie[...]

4) Kunststoffe.


[…]

As for the silkworm samples: they handed them over to the Foreign Ministry here three months ago. Eggs were also attached (they have spoiled due to the storage). In my view, the Foreign Ministry here has kept them in storage for more than 2 months, although it could have handed them over to us almost any day [.…] the Korean comrades need our help badly [.…] This is why the policy pursued by the Foreign Ministry here is so incomprehensible [emphasis in the original]. I dare say that the isolation of the Embassy is greater than in the West, those who would like to visit us are subjected to an identity check and taken to task. If we ask for an appointment, they refuse it. For instance, I was repeatedly invited to the Academy [.…] In return, we wanted to ask them to dinner. The F[oreign] M[inistry] turned down our proposal, coming up with the ridiculous argument that they [the scientists] did not reside here. This is ridiculous, for at present the Academy is in our vicinity, so to say, and if they were thinking about it, they would surely know that we can easily check that, even unintentionally. Around 1st December they asked me whether I wanted to meet the painters and the artists this year [… ] They have created an impossible situation [emphasis in the original]. I think the Center should lodge a protest with the [North Korean] Embassy here [emphasis in the original], or authorize the head of the Embassy here to have talks in order to put an end to this impossible situation [emphasis in the original]. Thus, the situation would improve, at least temporarily, as it improved after Comrade Pásztor paid a visit to Kim Il Sung and raised the issue of these difficulties.

Zsigmond Csuka
Chargé d'Affaires ad interim